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The subjective value of a life with Down syndrome: Evidence from amniocentesis decision


  • Gajdos, Thibault
  • Garrouste, Clémentine
  • Geoffard, Pierre-Yves


Using a simple theoretical decision model and an original database, we were able to elicit the distribution of the utility value of having a child with Down syndrome for a large sample of French pregnant women (n = 28,341) between 2003 and 2007. We found that, on a scale where the value of a fetal death is 0 and the value of a healthy child is 1, the mean value for a child with Down syndrome is about −0.6. Assuming that the policymaker used the same decision model as the women, we infer from the French amniocentesis reimbursement regulation an implicit social value for a child with Down syndrome of −2.5. We conclude from our study that the policymaker is more likely to prevent the birth of children with Down syndrome than French women themselves.

Suggested Citation

  • Gajdos, Thibault & Garrouste, Clémentine & Geoffard, Pierre-Yves, 2016. "The subjective value of a life with Down syndrome: Evidence from amniocentesis decision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 59-69.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:127:y:2016:i:c:p:59-69
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2016.04.014

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eduardo Fajnzylber & Seth Sanders & V. Joseph Hotz, 2010. "An Economic Model of Amniocentesis Choice," Working Papers 10-66, Duke University, Department of Economics.
    2. Edi Karni & Moshe Leshno & Sivan Rapaport, 2014. "Helping patients and physicians reach individualized medical decisions: theory and application to prenatal diagnostic testing," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 76(4), pages 451-467, April.
    3. Clémentine Garrouste & Jérôme Le & Eric Maurin, 2011. "The choice of detecting Down syndrome: does money matter?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(9), pages 1073-1089, September.
    4. Valerie Seror, 2008. "Fitting observed and theoretical choices - women's choices about prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(5), pages 557-577.
    5. Karine Lamiraud & Pierre-Yves Geoffard, 2007. "Therapeutic non-adherence: a rational behavior revealing patient preferences?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(11), pages 1185-1204.
    6. Browner, C.H. & Preloran, H.M. & Cox, S.J., 1999. "Ethnicity, bioethics, and prenatal diagnosis: The amniocentesis decisions of Mexican-origin women and their partners," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 89(11), pages 1658-1666.
    7. Edi Karni, 2009. "A theory of medical decision making under uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 1-16, August.
    8. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12124 is not listed on IDEAS
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